Should You See a Chiropractor, Physical Therapist, or Orthopedic Surgeon? | Thousand Oaks, Ca

Posted on Mar 21, 2013 | Comments Off on Should You See a Chiropractor, Physical Therapist, or Orthopedic Surgeon? | Thousand Oaks, Ca

Should You See a Chiropractor, Physical Therapist, or Orthopedic Surgeon?  Thousand Oaks, Ca

health provider thousand oaksIt can be difficult to know where to go for help when you are in pain with mild injuries, soft tissue damage, whiplash, back and neck pain, headaches, migraines, carpal tunnel, and sports injuries.  Should you see a medical doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, or an orthopedic surgeon for your musculoskeletal pain?  A doctor of chiropractic is not only a great choice to providing the relief you need, but can offer a unique advantage over other health specialties.

The first step to addressing your pain…get a proper diagnosis.

Identifying the cause of your pain is the first step to solving it, therefore a proper diagnosis is essential.  A diagnosis allows you to find the right treatment, and to rule out more serious disease.  Which health specialty is best to go to for an initial diagnosis?

To narrow it down, find someone who is trained to offer primary care and licensed to diagnose.  In California, physical therapists do not diagnose*, and you need a referral from a doctor first before you can visit one.  Both medical doctors and chiropractors are licensed to diagnose, and trained to be primary care physicians.  They can provide an initial diagnosis, make treatment recommendations, and, if needed, will refer to other specialists, including orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, and rheumatologists.

The fact that chiropractors are trained to be primary care physicians may come as a surprise, as there is often misunderstanding about their role in health care.  Chiropractic doctors receive eight years of training, just as medical doctors do.  Both receive a similar education in their first two years of medical education, but in the second two years, their clinical training diverges.  A medical degree emphasizes internal medicine, surgery, and pharmaceuticals, where a chiropractic degrees emphasizes physical medicine, physical therapy, adjusting and nutrition.  Both are trained extensively in radiology and diagnostic imaging, so they can provide you with x-rays when needed, interpret MRI’s and CT scans.  (See “Are Chiropractors Qualified Doctors?” for more info on this topic.)

So should you go to a medical doctor or a chiropractor for a diagnosis?  Both types of doctors are good choices, assuming you find a competent practitioner, yet each has their strengths.  If you believe your pain is coming internally, medical doctors are highly trained to deal with internal medical complaints and infectious disease, and is the best place to get a proper diagnosis.  If you believe your pain is coming from a structural imbalance, muscle, ligament, soft tissue pain, etc, then it is to your advantage to see a doctor of chiropractic.  Both specialties are trained to diagnose all disease, both internal and structural, so if your back pain is coming from a kidney infection, a chiropractor will have no problem catching it.

The second step to addressing your pain…get the proper treatment.

A diagnoses is important, but is useless without the right treatment.

Whenever possible, try conservative therapies first.  If conservative therapy is not an option, your chiropractor will refer you out accordingly.  Don’t rush to surgery.  Many are not needed.  Surgeries are permanent, often over utilized, and can create new complications.  You can always try conservative therapy first and then try surgery later, but you cannot do the reverse.

Most musculoskeletal pain will respond well to adjustments, physical therapy (physio therapy), and nutritional support.  Doctors of chiropractic are extensively trained in these therapies.  Combined with their understanding of anatomy, physiology, and pathology, doctors of chiropractic are uniquely primed to offer premier care.

Five advantages of a chiropractor

Here are five of the advantages a doctor of chiropractic can offer you:

One Convenient Location

  • Skip making multiple appointments between your doctors and your therapists; no more paying multiple co-pays for extra visits, driving all over town, and delaying the relief you need.  A chiropractor can diagnose and provide therapy all at the same time and at the same location.  This often includes any x-rays that you may need.

Your Therapy is Provided By Your Doctor

  • Would you rather have a therapist carry out your treatment or your doctor?  As your therapy progresses, new findings often unfold.  It’s to your advantage to have a doctor re-evaluating your case every time you are treated.

Better Adjustments

  • Adjustments aren’t unique to chiropractic; medical doctors, osteopaths, and physical therapists all perform them, but chiropractors receive more training hours in proper adjusting techniques than any other profession.  Additionally, because adjustments are their main therapy, chiropractors have much more experience applying them, keeping their adjusting skills sharp, which provides you with the safest and most comfortable experience possible.

Trained to Be Conservative

  • Doctors of chiropractic do not use surgery or pharmaceuticals in their practice.  This positions them to offer conservative approaches to healing first.

Whole Health Approach

  • Doctors of chiropractic receive extensive training in biochemistry, nutrition, and diet, to offer patients ways to become healthy from the inside out.


Don’t Hesitate to Get Help

Curious to see if you can be helped?   At Limitless Health we are happy to consult with you for free.  We like the really difficult questions, so don’t hesitate to ask about your health concerns or hesitations you may have about chiropractic care.  If you or someone you know is in pain call for a free phone consultation today!  (805)409-7071


*Note this is article not commenting on the competency of physical therapists.  There are many excellent physical therapists, and there many instances where I would refer a patient to see one.  This article is intended to highlight the place of chiropractors in the health field.  In many cases their roles can be complementary, and there are many chiropractors who hire physical therapists to work in their clinics.


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